Subsea internet cables reduce African unemployment

01 September 2017 | Natalie Bannerman

Submarine internet cables in African have been shown to reduce the level of unemployment in Africa.

A recent report by National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the arrival of high speed subsea internet cables has provided new jobs for the continent and is directly addressing much of the societal inequality as a result. 

The report examines three data-sets covering 12 countries show large positive effects on employment rates, with little job displacement across space and states: "that greater and cheaper access to information and communication due to availability of fast Internet increases employment rates in Africa, and that in at least some countries, this happens in part due to the technology’s impact on firm entry, productivity, and exports".

Data also indicated that exports, online communication with clients, and on-the-job training increased among firms in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tanzania, once they had access to fast Internet.

Ethiopia in particular has experienced an ongoing increase in skilled jobs and incomes, as well as productivity and jobs in the manufacturing industry, as a direct result of access to the fast internet. 

The submarine cables arrived in Africa in the early 2000’s backed by a group of private European investors, and is connected to Africa’s terrestrial networks at various landing point across the continent. 

The Kenyan subsea cable which went live six years ago has resulted in a surge of start-ups, appearing all over the country. As well as, the arrival of international players Google, IBM, and Intel to the capital Nairobi, rising the countries technology exports from $16 million to $360 million over the last six years alone. 

Bandwidth prices have also fallen, supply chain coordination has been simplified and wholesale, retail, agribusiness, & manufacturing have all benefitted from the advantages of the fast internet.

Topics: Subsea, Africa, Kenyan, Google, IBM, Intel, Internet, Cable, Unemployment